Weighing the pro's & con's of weaning when medical reasons are involved...

Katie - posted on 02/14/2011 ( 6 moms have responded )

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This is a very hard and personal thing for me, please be sensitive to my feelings when replying. I'm just looking for a place to discuss my situation in a positive and supportive way. Thank you.

My Son is just about to turn 15 months old and is still breastfed. He loves to nurse and does so probably around 8 times a day, or more if he's not feeling well. He also still usually has 1 night feeding. I know that a lot of the time when he nurses he's not actually doing it for milk, but just because he wants to. When we're on the go he's absolutely fine with skipping feedings, but since I'm currently a SAHM, we're home virtually all of the time.
My problem is that I am supposed to be on 3 different medications that I cannot take while nursing (or obviously while pregnant too). I have been a lifetime sufferer of migraines, and am supposed to be on a daily suppressant which I cannot take. I also cannot take any medications for relief once they hit. I have severe acid reflux disease, and the only medications that work for me cannot be taken while nursing (and my insurance is so picky on what they cover it would make your head spin!). And the third thing is that I have interstitial cystitis (IC), and cannot take any medication for that while nursing.
I am getting a lot of pressure to wean my Son so that I can get back on the medications that I have now been off of for years. I am also getting a lot of pressure to keep nursing. I know that as long as I am a SAHM, my Son will want to keep nursing. Even if I decided that I was going to wean him, I wouldn't even know how to go about it since he loves it so much and we're home all day everyday. On one hand, I would really love to be on my medication. It would be great to not always have my throat burning, my head hurting, and having to go to the restroom every 1/2 hr. But on the other hand I know how much he loves nursing and how good it is for him and that once it's gone, it's gone forever. I feel like in all reality I will probably let him go to two years, but I think once he gets to that point it would be ok to start looking after myself too. It's just a very hard situation to deal with. It sucks! And I know that I will really miss it once it's gone.
Is there anyone on here who had to wean for medical reasons? If so, how did you handle it? How did your LO handle it? How did you wean them if they still loved doing it?
I think I've rambled on enough. Thank you for taking the time to read this and reply.

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Patricia - posted on 02/14/2011

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Hey there,
Firstly, wow, what a sacrifice you have made for your very lucky boy. Big praise to you. Secondly, you are not rambling :)
Me wanting to stop and my dd wanting to continue was a dilemma we had for over a year until she stopped at 2.5 yrs. He may not be emotionally ready to stop at 2, be prepared for that. But you can help him with his journey.

You already know distraction works, so keep him busy. Plan your days with activities for him. Is there a local playgroup near you, that takes up a morning? I found that if I was busy getting breakfast for everyone, getting dd dressed and me then out the door to playgroup she would skip the morning feeds. When she was tired, hurt or needing comfort it was harder to say no. If she was bored she wanted more.
Distraction will cut down on bf but he will most likely still want to nurse 1st thing in the morning, nap times, when he gets hurt and at bed time. So don't worry about feeling the loss of not bf, it can be gradual and your supply won't disappear if you skip feeds for a week or two (I've been bf free for 6 mths and still get milk and once did not bf for 4 days becasue of meds and it made not change to the supply)
For folks that would ask when i planned to wean, I would say we had started but are taking our time and in reality you started weaning when you introduced solids. For folks that were all for bf and nothing else I would say that I am still bf but helping my child progress to the next stage by cutting out the boredom feeds. I personally think it not very nice to cold turkey.
Also, you will need to feel ready. Like putting away baby clothes that no longer fit, it can feel strange and sad when you give up a feed. But sounds like you are a long way off anyway and he will still want 4 or so feeds a day, so you can both go slowly and do it when you are both emotionally ready.
Good luck and again, I have to say I am impressed with the sacrifice you have made. ♥

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Melissa - posted on 03/26/2011

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I see that this was posted a while ago, but found your post while searching for some answers. It made me cry! I have a 13 month old and have medications that I have not been able to try yet to potentially help with Lupus symptoms and Depression. I have been either pregnant or nursing for such a long time! I hope you have or will find your way through and find some comfort!

Lynn - posted on 02/14/2011

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Every weaning journey is very personal and a balancing act. I went though a similar decision process when I became pregnant with my second and had to decide if I would tough out the discomfort because she still needed to nurse.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding has may strategies for gentle weaning that you could try. Who knows he might be more ready for a gradual weaning start than you thought. You could always start by cutting out a feeding and if he doesn't seem to be able to handle it yet you can choose to wait a few more weeks and start again. Sounds like you know your situation and I almost think you know what you are going to decide. Know you need some guidelines and support. I know the Le Leche League I attend gives me both.

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Katie, what a marvellous thing you have done for your little boy! I really think it's time to start looking after yourself - you've given him so much and made so many sacrifices to do so, but it sounds like you need those medications to get back to a "normal lifestyle.

You've said you'll probably keep going till he's about 2, so that gives you a few months. Maybe just start by being on the go, or doing things that might take his mind off breastfeeding - go for walks, go to the library, the park, join a playgroup etc. Try to push the cup or sippy cup a bit more. Don't think of it as weaning him, but as preparing him for weaning.
Make it a slow process, so that breastfeeding fizzles out gradually, rather than just stops!

I was lucky - I had to (still have to, in fact) take medication for epilepsy, but it was compatible with breastfeeding so it wasn't an issue. Epilepsy can be a pain, but I didn't have all the problems you have with your conditions! I'm in awe of what you've don e for your little boy!

Sarh - posted on 02/14/2011

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I know what your going through! My bubby is only 8ms old, but I have Ankylosing Spondylitis (A.S.) and Fybromyalgia. I am supposed to be on 3 different medications that I can't take either while nursing. I have been off my medication for about a yr and a half! I can barely open jars and bottles, I can't stand and hold baby for longer then 2mins, I can't do dishes, etc without being in a whole world of pain!
He is a huge momma's boy and does lots of comfort feeds and nurses about as many times as your bubby. I want to nurse until a yr. If I was in your shoes and my little guy was 15m then I would attempt to wean. With my bubby only being 8ms old he is still a bit young and he has reflux and is lactose intolerant, I don't want to have to mess around with formulas.
If you plan to start weaning do so slowly, cut out one feeding and cut it out at the same time everyday for about a week. Do this with all the feeds. The first morning feed and the bedtime feed are the LAST two to go.
Good luck!! I know it is hard and heart breaking, but your bubby has nursed for a long time and you made it past 12ms!!! You did a great job! :)

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I think I would wean. You've done great for your son and YOU need to be healthy for him.

That being said.... I have no clue how I would wean. The only weaning experience I have so far is when I weaned my twins and they were schedule fed and binky addicts, so it was easy.

I'm so sorry. Good luck whatever you decide!!

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